“Dimming the Sun” Program Review: A NOVA Special
As many of you may well know, Nova documentaries on local PBS stations are extremely well-produced, often very insightful pieces on pressing issues that affect us all, whether political, environmental or otherwise. Several months ago, I caught a rebroadcast of “Dimming the Sun” and was again impressed by the program.
Based on the discovery that the sunlight reaching our planet has been diminishing, “Global Dimming” is what scientists and researchers are calling the phenomenon that may in fact be “masking the full impact of global warming.” In a nutshell, as we reduce our levels of pollution, we may actually be increasing global warming, consequently heating our planet up to levels that may have catastrophic implications.
It seems that Global Dimming has even caused scientists to revise both climate models and their understanding of the speed at which the climate is potentially changing. The program features some of the top climate scientists weighing in on the effects of Global Dimming, and what they may mean for our planet in the not-so-distant future. From research conducted days after September 11th to measure what is known as the “Contrail Effect” or the effects of airplane vapor trails on the atmosphere, to multi-million dollar studies conducted throughout the length of the Maldives, the information gathered in the program is well worth the watch.
Air pollution and urban smog are both harmful to us, and efforts to reduce pollutants have been met with considerable success in the past decade. So then what’s the problem? It seems that the very same smog has been producing a cooling effect in the earth’s atmosphere, preventing us from measuring the actual impact of global warming (the effects of green house gases).
Check out the “Discoveries in Global Dimming” interactive slide show while you are there.
Original PBS Broadcast Date: April 18, 2006
Aired on PBS September 4th, 2007